Recent Faculty Publication: Reporting Sex and Sex Differences in Preclinical Studies

Hong S. Lu*, Ann Marie Schmidt , Robert A. Hegele , Nigel Mackman , Daniel J. Rader , Christian Weber , and Alan Daugherty*

The Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, Vascular Biology (ATVB) journal publishes research work that advances scientific fields in a rigorous and reproducible manner. We have implemented multiple approaches to follow the National Institutes of Health guidelines for rigor and reproducibility. In 2013, ATVB developed a checklist in the peer review process to facilitate comments on multiple technical requirements, including the sex of animals used in preclinical studies. We have also emphasized the National Institutes of Health guidelines that encourage researchers to study both sexes in preclinical animal models. These include publishing a review1 entitled “Sex Differences in the Development of Cardiovascular Diseases” and an ATVB Council statement2 to encourage authors to consider sex differences in designing and reporting experimental arterial pathology studies that detail the mode by which ATVB complies with the National Institutes of Health guidelines.3 The journal appointed a technical review editor, Dr Hong Lu, who assumed the role in September 2017 to assess the many elements required for adherence to the National Institutes of Health guidelines. These include issues such as the rigor of statistical analyses and animal background strain, age, and sex. The designation of sex of origin in studies of primary cells derived from cell culture is not as common as it is in animal studies. This is probably because of the unproven assumption that the lack of the hormonal environment in cell culture eliminates the need for designation of sex. However, because the differences of X and Y sex chromosomes and possibly sex-related differences in genomic imprinting are preserved in cultured cells, these cells could theoretically retain the ability to respond in a sex-dependent manner.4 Therefore, we also encourage and will monitor the reporting of sex in primary cell isolation and culture.

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*Saha Cardiovascular Research Center Faculty